Watch, share and vote for our ShelterMe video entry! Having trouble? Scroll down the blog for “How to…” instructions.
Wow. Nothing like jumping right into a subject, eh? 🙂 We aren’t really big on Internet contests because they typically boil down to who has the most friends to vote! But this time, we’re suspending our opinion for a bit because we entered one – the ShelterMe video contest. This one’s different because, if we win, it gives us a chance to give back to a good cause – the City of Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW). And even if we don’t, it brings tremendous exposure to the shelter. So, ultimately, it’s a win-win situation!
As many of you know, we photograph TAW’s available dogs and cats weekly and have done so since New Year’s Eve 2012. When we started, the director told us their intake was over 12,000 animals and euthanasia rate was approximately 62%. Not great numbers, that’s for sure. Since we started taking photos, the numbers tell a story:
- Adoptions up 10.6%
- Rescues taking animals up 32.1%
- Transports up 87.4%
Now those are numbers to love! Why would rescues and transport numbers go up, you ask? Because the photos are so widely shared and it gives the rescue and receiving shelter a photo to already have once the animal arrives. That’s right, we grant permission for receiving shelters and rescues to use our photos as well, so instead of extra time needed for a photo of the new intake, rescues hit the ground running with a great photo we’ve already taken! The adoption coordinator said they’ve fielded calls from all over the United States from people wanting to adopt because they saw our photo on Facebook or the PetHarbor site. Now that’s progress!
When I heard about the ShelterMe contest, my first thought was “What can I do to challenge people?” I didn’t want a video that just made you sad or showed dejected animals from beginning to end. I wanted something that would challenge people to get out and make a difference. Too often we see something sad on TV, we shake our heads and say “How terrible…” and then promptly forget about it. I wanted to change that perspective. Make them watch, shake their heads, then say “What can I do to help?” That’s the goal of our video – to challenge others to get off the couch and make a difference!
How can you make a difference? Many ways. Fostering. Adopting. Donating. Volunteering. You don’t have to do the traditional things people associate with animal rescue either. Social media networking is a huge bonus to animal rescue, so create a “crossposting” account and simply network animals. Hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to your local shelter. Sponsor a food drive and gather up food for the shelter (make sure to ask if they purchase specific food before you do). Have a car wash! Spend an afternoon petting cats or walking dogs. There are a million different things you can do to help your local shelter without adopting or fostering. Every little bit counts and works towards the goal of empty shelters.
Which brings me back to the video. I wanted to challenge others to get up and do something. My tagline is “saving lives, one photo at a time.” I’ve been criticized a time or two, told what I’m doing can’t possibly make a difference when there are 6-8 million animals going into shelters on an annual basis, but I know it can. No, I can’t save every single one of them, but I can make a difference in the lives of each one I meet. And here’s where you come in…
We need your help. A few days ago, we had the most watched video in the contest with over 15,000 views and over 4,700 shares. However, ShelterMe reset all the counts to zero once voting began. So now we have to start all over. We need your help sharing the video on Facebook and Twitter. Watching the video. And voting daily. The top ten semifinalists will be chosen from 33.3% of total views, shares, and votes. Then a three-judge panel will select the winners. First place wins $5,000, which they’ll split with the shelter of their choice. We sure want to be the first place winner, so we can hand TAW a $2,500 check and use the remaining $2,500 to further our cause of photographing shelter animals.
How to vote:
1) Create an account at http://contest.shelterme.com/register (if you have already registered, simply sign-in to your account http://contest.shelterme.com/signin)
2) Go to our video: http://contest.shelterme.com/videos/108
3) Click play and watch the video all the way through in order for the view to count
4) At the end of the video, voting and sharing icons appear on top of the video. If they don’t appear, hover your mouse over the video and you’ll see them.
5) Select the fifth star from the left (5 stars equals LOVE!) if you feel our video warrants it, and then share our video from the Facebook, Twitter, or Email icons. Sharing must occur from here. You’ll receive a message that says “Thank you for your vote” after you’ve successfully placed your vote.
That’s all there is to it! You can watch and share the video much as you want, but you can only vote once daily. Please come back and vote daily for our video! Remember, votes, views, and shares all count towards the 10 semifinalists.
I want to personally thank Charles Elmore with 918 Media for creating our video. He followed us around during a rescue shoot one afternoon and listened as I talked about what we do and why we do it, then put it all together to make this fantastic video. He’s also the sexy voice doing the narration! His wife, Allison, comes out faithfully each week and helps me shoot at the shelter. Without Alli, I’m not sure how I’d manage and I am ever grateful for her unwavering support of shelter animals. Her dedication is inspiring because she doesn’t just help me, but she spends countless hours helping bath animals for transport, arranging playgroups and more. Charles and Alli, I love you guys!
Like we said earlier, we can’t change the lives of all shelter animals, but we can change the lives of the ones we meet. Help us change lives. Help us save lives…one photo at a time!